Early Smoke Detection in Waste Recycling Facilities

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For many years, waste, trash and household garbage has been gathered and deposited into landfill sites. As time passes and the population increases we are left with more and more waste causing landfills to become full. As a result, waste management services, which involve assorted recycling or reuse programs, are becoming more widely used. In some countries this service includes incineration of waste where garbage is often stored in ‘Waste Bunkers’ or transfer stations before it is sent to be dealt with.

What are the risks?

Waste bunkers can often encompass tonnes of potentially flammable waste and can be prone to self-combustion, heat development (caused by pressure), impromptu chemical reactions and build-up of methane gas. All these fire hazards raise a number of concerns for safety in recycling plants.

Fires in these waste stations can be extremely perilous for both operators and the environment and can not be easily extinguished. The vast amount of waste means that firefighters need to ensure that a fire has been completely doused, as even the smallest of smoldering fire spots can reignite and come back to life. The heavily contaminated water then needs to be dealt with and on top of this the waste, that is due to be incinerated, is left saturated hindering the recycling process and slowing down productivity.

What is the solution?

Risk of fire is reduced by employing cranes to regularly move, mix and turn the waste keeping any one ‘spot’ from becoming too volatile. However, fire is still a colossal risk and with so much combustible waste the smallest of fires need to be detected as early as possible to avoid total devastation.

This is where very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA) can provide suitable detection. Its esteemed ability to detect extreme temperatures from incinerators, high voltages from machinery, high frictional heat sources from collection and sorting equipment and potentially hazardous atmospheres due to material decomposition, makes a system such as EF-FT1 Aspirating Smoke Detector, with harsh environment filters, the ideal solution.

Aspirating Smoke Detection

An aspirating smoke detection system can provide reliable detection where traditional point detectors can fail. Its ability to actively draw air through a series of sampling pipes means that an ASD can detect presence of smoke even before the human eye. A filter can be used to filter out dust and dirt and ASD’s high resistance to invading factors such as reflection, sunlight, birds, insects and forklifts provides highly reliable detection with low risk of false alarm.

To summarise, sensitivity consistency over time, early warning detection systems provide the necessary safety and protection for waste management facilities with as few false alarms as possible.


Eurofyre supply a wide range of aspirating smoke detection systems to cater for a multitude of applications. For more information please feel free to get in touch either by telephone on +44 (0)1329 835024, email to sales@eurofyre.co.uk, or via the contact form on our contact page.

Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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